Abreu making an impression on Diamondbacks - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Abreu making an impression on Diamondbacks

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Posted: Wednesday, March 24, 2010 9:49 pm | Updated: 3:44 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Tony Abreu is quickly making up for lost time.

The Diamondbacks infielder who missed all of 2008 and the first month of the '09 season due to hip surgery has put together a spring that's put him into contention for a spot on Arizona's opening day roster.

Abreu hasn't yet locked up a spot, but now healthy, he feels this is his time.

"Everything is good right now. I have an opportunity here, and I'm ready to play," Abreu, who was also slowed by ankle and wrist injuries last year, said Wednesday in Glendale.

Abreu is hitting .381, third on the team among players with at least 30 at-bats, and has proven to the coaching staff he's a capable backup at second base, third base or shortstop.

"He's been great all spring and I've been very impressed with the energy he brings to the field," Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said. "He got off to a great start offensively and made his presence known. ... He's done fine at all three (positions)."

After appearing in 59 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2007 and six last year, Abreu was acquired by Arizona in October to complete a trade that sent pitcher Jon Garland to Los Angeles in July.

Hinch said he was familiar with Abreu before the trade, so he's not surprised by how he's playing.

"It was a good get for us at such a late date of a trade," Hinch said.

Abreu is facing tight competition for the last roster spot, including from Rusty Ryal, who played well for Arizona late last season. Abreu doesn't have a feel on where he stands in the coaches' minds.

"I don't know what's going to happen now," he said. "Nobody has talked to me. I'll just keep working."

In perhaps a positive sign for Abreu, on the team's Web site he's second on the team's depth chart at shortstop, a position the team was unsure whether he could play coming into spring training. That isn't the case anymore.

"He can handle the position," said Hinch. "I think he's an option at any point to help our big league club. He's answered those challenges."

As for Ryal, he hasn't been as productive offensively as Abreu this spring — he's hitting .278 — but he does have more power and is more versatile defensively.

"He's elbowed his way into the competition," Hinch said. "... He went to winter ball and proved his versatility. He's shown flashes of a potent bat. He's a good weapon to consider for a roster spot."

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